Today we’re spotlighting Rook by William Ritter!
Read on for more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!
About the Author: William Ritter
William Ritter is an Oregon educator and the New York Times bestselling author of the Jackaby series, which received glowing trade and national reviews and was named to many state lists. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark. Visit him online at rwillritter.wordpress.com and find him on Twitter: @Willothewords.
About the Book: Rook
Abigail Rook never intended to be the mortal bridge between the human and supernatural worlds. But now the power of the Sight, and all the discord that comes with seeing the truth behind everything and everyone both mundane and magical, is hers and hers alone. With this overwhelming new gift, she should be able to settle disputes, solve crimes, and help the late-nineteenth-century city of New Fiddleham, New England, find calm in its supernatural chaos.
The only problem? She has no idea what she’s doing.
And New Fiddleham isn’t waiting for Abigail to be ready. Local witches and other magical beings are going missing, as tensions between human and supernatural residents curdle into a hatred that could tear the city apart. Abigail’s fiancé, Charlie, works alongside her to unravel the magical disappearances, but as a shapeshifter, he’s under threat as well. Then Abigail’s parents appear, ready to take her back to England and marry her off to someone she’s never met. As Abigail learns to master her gift, she must follow her Sight, her instincts, and any clues she can find to track a culprit who could destroy everything she holds dear.
Life goes on—which I have always felt was rude on life’s part. It comes crashing into us at full speed, leaves us reeling, and doesn’t spare so much as a backward glance as we drag ourselves back to our feet in its dust. It isn’t that life doesn’t care—although, to be clear, it doesn’t—it’s that life clearly has its own agenda, and no intention of pausing to let the rest of us catch our breath.
I was already out of breath as I crested a hill looking out over the busy streets of New Fiddleham. My mentor had a naturally rapid gait, and it had been too long since I’d had any practice keeping pace. “A moment, if you don’t mind, Mr. Jackaby,” I called.
“Of course.” He paused to stand in what he might have believed was a nonchalant posture, leaning stiffly with his shoulder against a lamppost and his hands in the pockets of his tatty old duster while he waited for me. His restlessness was palpable—it crawled under his lapels and clambered through his messy hair. The man’s impatience had little to do with today’s hike and everything to do with me. I couldn’t blame him.
“I’m sorry,” I said.
“Don’t apologize,” he chided, but his aura churned.
Auras, for those who have the good fortune of not being able to see them, look a bit like a glowing light and a bit like wispy smoke and a bit like a dream you tried to hold in your mind after waking up. Auras are slippery. They’re also everywhere. Everything has its own energy. Sometimes that energy is simple—an average brick’s energy is ruddy and brick-shaped; an average pebble’s is small and pale. Other times, an aura is a hundred times larger and more complicated than the physical object generating it. A simple silver brooch could fill a room with waves of midnight and sadness, or a strand of hair could burn as bright as a bonfire. That might all sound like a dazzling spectacle, and it is, but one does not wish to be dazzled when one is trying to butter a potato. One wishes that a potato would just sit still and be a potato for five blessed minutes. Auras are exhausting. And I had spent my formative months as a Seer sequestered in a building packed with my mentor’s paranormal relics and crime scene mementos. They dazzled ceaselessly.
Until recently, Jackaby had been the one to see auras, and he had been good at it. He had made a career out of it, solving impossible mysteries by following invisible clues. The sight should have remained his until the day he died—and technically it had. Fortunately, Jackaby’s untimely demise had only been temporary. Less fortunately, his supernatural sight had transferred itself behind my unready eyelids the moment his heart had stopped beating, and there it had remained even after his resuscitation. The power was mine now, whether I wanted it or not.
“Shall we?” Jackaby asked.
I nodded, following him under a narrow brick arch. My eye twitched as we crossed through the tight alleyway. The space was claustrophobic, and the air was thick with the electric grays of anxiety and fear. One wall had been splattered with dull red paint, in which someone had hastily scrawled the words MUNDUS NOSTER. Each letter thrummed angrily. It made me feel itchy, like scar tissue forming around a cut.
“What’s that?” I asked aloud.
“Hmm?” Jackaby followed my gaze. His lip twisted in a brief sneer. “Don’t pay it any mind. Just local gangs demonstrating typical New Fiddleham hospitality. At least they’ve put some effort into their Latin this time. Our world. Not particularly original. I’ve seen four or five variations in the past week.”
I swallowed. “Is that normal?” I asked.
Jackaby didn’t answer. He didn’t have to. His aura churned faster.
“This is why you wanted me to get back out into the city, isn’t it?” I said. “To see things like that for myself?”
“You are not responsible for stopping every vandal in New Fiddleham, Miss Rook.” Jackaby replied. He kept his eyes fixed forward. “I told you already, this trip is only for practice. No ulterior motives. No pressure. When you are ready, you’re ready.” A few agitated pinwheels of anxiety spun off his aura, but he kept his expression flat. “You’ve been cooped up for months. It’s good for you to get back into the world, breathe some fresh air.” He sniffed. “Or at least some New Fiddleham air. Mind that sticky-looking puddle, there.”
Author: William Ritter
Release Date: 8/22/23
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Historical
Age Range: 12 & up